The Killer Angels July Read-A-Long

The Killer Angels cover collage

The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara is a novel about the Battle of Gettsyburg which took place July 1-3, 1863. The battle was a big turning point in the Civil War and the novel was awarded the Pulitzer in 1975.

“My favorite historical novel . . . a superb re-creation of the Battle of Gettysburg, but its real importance is its insight into what the war was about, and what it meant.”—James M. McPherson

While I’ve never been “into” the Civil War, my interest in this novel was piqued over 15 years ago when I was living in North Carolina and a friend whipped out her annotated copy of the book. Her history professor dad had made notes in it for her, circling or writing in the names and deeds of ancestors who’d been in the battle. I was fascinated by that knowledge of her heritage (even if she suspected some of it may have been family lore rather than historical fact).

I recently decided to start reading about the Civil War and knew this novel would probably be the book I’d start with. When my friend Janis Herbert included it on her list of recommended books on the Civil War it was a done deal. I’m told this book is a very readable, more about the feelings of the men who fought than military battle tactics and maneuvers.

From the publisher: In the four most bloody and courageous days of our nation’s history, two armies fought for two conflicting dreams. One dreamed of freedom, the other of a way of life. Far more than rifles and bullets were carried into battle. There were memories. There were promises. There was love. And far more than men fell on those Pennsylvania fields. Bright futures, untested innocence, and pristine beauty were also the casualties of war. Michael Shaara’s Pulitzer Prize–winning masterpiece is unique, sweeping, unforgettable—the dramatic story of the battleground for America’s destiny.

Read-a-Long Details:
Week 1: Read through the section “June 29” (about 46 pages). Discussion post on July 7th.
Week 2: Read through the section “July 1” (about 69 pages). Discussion post on July 14.
Week 3: Read through the section “July 2” (about 102 pages). Discussion post on July 21.
Week 4: Read through the section “July 3” & afterword (about 70 pages). Discussion post on July 28.

If you’d like to preview the book Random House has a LOOK INSIDE feature and a Reader’s Guide.

I’d love some company while reading this book.
Who wants to join me?


  1. congratulations on hosting your first read-along. I did it once, but it slowed down so much my reading of the novel that I ended up not liking the book too much – though it was one by Kate Morton, whom I usually enjoy so much. so I think that type of experience is not for me. if the book is good, I need to devour it quickly, lol. By the way, finally made it to Printers Row for the 1st time today, that was fantastic!

  2. I've read The Killer Angels years ago and enjoyed it. I think you will too. I should read it again, but I have so many books this summer, and so little time!

  3. The Killer Angels has been on all my reading lists for so long and I just never seem to get to it! NOW I will get to it 🙂 My Ex was not a reader in way shape or form. This was one of only two books he ever read in his life and he couldn't put it down.

  4. Wow, that's a great endorsement! I'm happy you're joining us! I'm going to start reading it later this evening…can't wait to dig in!

What do you think? Leave a comment and let's talk!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.